I confess – I am a kind of a “forest geek”, I love going mushroom hunting!!!
So the next few recipes will all be with mushrooms! But let’s start with the mushrooms that don’t look good enough to be cooked fresh, but that you can use anyway, later on during the year.
When you go mushroom searching, or even when you buy Porcini, you cannot be sure that your mushrooms will be “healthy” until you cut them and check.
If you buy them, and you can touch them, choose the ones that have a hard body as they might be better and have no little mushroom worms.
The first thing to do when you have mushrooms is to clean them and if you are a perfectionist you should have a “mushroom brush” and a small, very sharp knife.
You should cut away all the dirty bits at the bottom of the Porcino and brush away all the dirt from it.
If it is still very dirty, you can take a wet cloth and gently clean it. Porcini mushrooms should not be washed unless you are desperate because they are very dirty; then you can wash them under cold water and you should cook them immediately.
But what do you do when you cut your Porcino in half and it looks really bad, with small worms, or if it looks like a sponge?!
Don’t get sad because all the dry mushrooms you usually buy in bags were like this before.
Keep the good parts for the recipe you were planning to cook immediately and put the bad ones aside. Slice the mushrooms – always in “vertical slices“, from the head to the bottom part – and leave every slice a few mm thick – 5 at least!
Place all your sliced mushrooms on top of a paper tray or a piece of cardboard and if you have a garden, a balcony or a window that gets a lot of sun, put your mushrooms in the sun untill they are completely dry.
Turn them a few times so they can dry evenly.
The little mushroom worms will get out and dry in the sun and finally leave your Porcini alone!
If you don’t have the chance to leave the mushrooms to dry in the sun don’t worry because you can dry them inside your oven; the weather turned bad today so I finished to dry mine in the oven too.
I switched on my oven at a very low temperature – 100° max – and I used the fan. I turned the mushrooms a few times and when they were perfectly dry I took them out.
Tip: The best way to conserve your dry mushrooms is put them inside your freezer! The mushrooms have no water inside anymore and if you put them in the freezer they will become crispy and last for a long time. In this way you will not risk them getting bad inside your cupboard and the discovery, during a hot day, of a “horrible gray mini food butterfly” inside their bag eating all of them – and all the food in your storage!